Encourage Each Other

But encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception. – (Hebrews 3:13, HCSB)

But encourage each other every day, while you still have something called “today”. Help each other so that none of you will be fooled by sin and become too hard to change. – (Hebrews 3:13, ERV)

Encourage each other every day – for as long as we can still say “today” – so none of you let the deceitfulness of sin harden your hearts. – (Hebrews 3:13, VOICE)

We need each other to be the best version of ourselves. God intentionally created us for community so that we might encourage one another to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God. As we do, we are aware of the things that try to pull us away from the path that He has placed us on and are equipped to love and navigate well. Incredibly, the more we encourage others, the more we discover that we too are encouraged in the process. May we ever seek the Lord to point us to those who need encouragement and to give us the words that lift others up best.

Today is the day,

We’ve been called to love;

To lift others up,

Point hearts to above.

Encouraging words,

We choose to speak well;

Bring hope and resolve,

With goodness we tell.

Let’s help each other,

Walk in the Lord’s way;

With love and kindness,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created us for community and surround us with those who love and help encourage us to follow after and stay true to You. Forgive us for our attempts to navigate on our own. Teach us to trust You more and to invest well in the relationships that You bless us with. Lead us to love and encourage those around us in ways that fend off the temptations to go astray. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to be an encouragement to those around us daily. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up as you are already doing. – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Everyday Encouragement

But encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception. – (Hebrews 3:13, HCSB)

But encourage each other every day, while you still have something called “today”. Help each other so that none of you will be fooled by sin and become too hard to change. – (Hebrews 3:13, ERV)

Encourage each other every day – for as long as we can still say “today” – so none of you let the deceitfulness of sin harden your hearts. – (Hebrews 13:3, VOICE)

We are called and reminded to encourage each other every day. None of us are infallible on our own, but rather we need one another to walk in His way and do His will. Our own broken humanity deceives us and can lead us astray when left to our own devices. However, when we are invested in Christ and community, we are encouraged and encourage others to walk in His way and do His will. There is power in accountability, as it keeps us honest with others and ourselves. God intentionally created us to crave community so that we would invest in each other and be capable of encouraging one another in all things. In my own life, I am so grateful for this. He has surrounded me with loving people who want to see the very best for me and from me. When I am struggling, they encourage me. When I see those around me challenged, I try to do the same. Jesus was our ultimate example, and endured every challenge and trial that comes our way. Because He has been where we are, He is able to help and uphold us through all things. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in encouraging those around us, so that not one of us would be hardened to hearing His best for us.

Today is a gift,

Meant to be lived well;

His grace is enough,

As in Him we dwell.

We’re called to reach out,

Encourage others;

Build each other up,

Sisters and brothers.

Let not the heavy,

Pull each other down;

Lift and encourage,

Let kindness be found.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and equip us to encourage one another. Thank You that You also provide people in the communities to which we belong to encourage us as well. Thank You that You desire that not one of us falls to the weight of the world. Forgive us for the times that we have rejected the reminders You have provided and the times that we have neglected to encourage others. Teach us to lean into You to be our strength and supply, and to give You praise for the people that You place in our lives to give and receive encouragement. Show us how to love and encourage those around us in ways that strengthen and build them up. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your strength and encouragement in all things and trust in You to lead us to encourage others well. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

Now may the God who gives endurance and encouragement allow you to live in harmony with one another, according to the command of Christ Jesus. – Romans 15:5

Done to Others is Done Unto You

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of Mine, you did for Me.’” – (Matthew 25:40, NIV)

“Then the King will answer, ‘The truth is, anything you did for my people here, you also did for Me.’” – (Matthew 25:40, ERV)

“And the King will answer them, ‘Don’t you know? When you cared for one of the least important of these, My little ones, My true brothers and sisters, you demonstrated love for Me.’” – (Matthew 25:40, TPT)

This ought to be our motivation. Whenever we love others, we are also demonstrating our love for God. Every single time we love, help, encourage, lift up, show kindness, give grace – God sees it as if we were doing these very things unto Him. What this shows us is how deeply God loves all of His creation. Our closest comparison is how we feel when others extend kindness, grace, generosity, encouragement, and more to one whom we love deeply. I know for me, when someone does these things for one of my children, I am blessed as well. My heart swells with gratitude, simply knowing that another sees and values my child like I do. Imagine the depth of what God feels in comparison. God who loved so deeply that He sent His Son to reestablish a right relationship with us, recognizes every act of kindness and extension of love as words and deeds given directly to Him. For me, that both defines and dictates how I ought to treat everyone I meet. Do I have it down to a science? Of course not. I fall short and fail daily, yet can always seek to do and be better. God, in His loving kindness, hears our petitions presented before Him, and honors our desire to love well. May we ever seek the Lord to lead and equip us to love as He loves us.

Whatever we do,

In word, thought or deed;

We do unto God,

Let’s follow His lead.

The God of all grace,

Does all things in love;

May we love like Him,

Give good from above.

For each time we choose,

To help each other;

We live with purpose,

Sisters and brothers.

The times that we fail,

Neglect or ignore;

It too is to God,

Things that He abhors.

Lord, help us rise up,

Love well, each other;

Choose extend Your love,

One to another.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love one another as You love us. Thank You that as we do, You recognize our love extended to those around us as love for You. Forgive us for the times that we have been unloving or callous or have neglected to reach out where we knew You called us to love. Teach us to trust and follow Your lead as we aspire to love like You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that exhibit the width, depth and breadth of Your everlasting love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we reach out to love like You. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. – Matthew 7:12

Bearing Our Burdens

Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. – (Psalm 68:19, NIV) 

Praise the Lord! Every day he helps us with the loads we must carry. He is the God who saves us. – (Psalm 68:19, ERV) 

Blessed be the Lord who carries our heavy loads every day, the True God who is our salvation. – (Psalm 68:19, VOICE) 

God is faithful, always. In the throes of the heaviness, He is present. When we are feeling stuck, He is ready and able to lead us through so that we may believe in the midst of our burdens.  Salvation is understood as we find hope in the heavy, and recognize the presence of God. I find myself in a solid space of reminiscing about God’s faithfulness, and how He bears our burdens. A little over a year ago, my mom suffered a massive stroke. We were blindsided by this, as she had always been strong and healthy and independent. As we have walked through the recovery process with mom, each day, God has handled our burdens and helped us carry the weight of worry and fear.  The verse found in Hebrews 6:19, “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure…” has been a sort of battle cry and comfort as we have navigated all of the new that comes with this sort of challenge. Being a visual person, I have wanted to artistically memorialize the anchor that God has been, in a way that was a tangible reminder of His faithfulness to steady us, always. Yesterday, the desire that I had held finally came to fruition. On my right foot, which is the side of mom’s body impacted by the stroke, I had an anchor with flowers from mom’s yard, along with her usual signature on cards, memorialized in ink. For me, every step I take, I am reminded of God’s faithfulness to continue to bring healing, help and wholeness to my mom. It also reminds me to pray with gratitude for the life that He spared, and is continuing to restore. She went from being wheelchair bound a year ago, to walking by herself with a cane today. It has taken tremendous determination and hard work, but mom has never shied away from either, and depends on God to be her strength. May we ever remember Who is near and present to help us with the loads we carry, and loves us through every step that we take. 

Hope is the anchor, 

A gift from the Lord; 

His grace and His love, 

As asked, He’ll afford. 

He’ll carry the weight, 

Of burdens we bear; 

Bring loving comfort, 

Tangible, His care. 

Regardless of weight, 

His grace is enough; 

To lead and guide us,  

Through all sorts of stuff. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You help us with the burdens we bear, and when they grow too heavy, You carry us. Thank You that You are the faithful anchor of our soul – strong and secure. Forgive us for the times that we attempt to carry things alone, rather than seeking You for help. Teach us to trust You more, as You are forever faithful to help, as You love us through every storm that comes our way. Show us how to love others well. Lead us to love in a way that brings comfort, encouragement, and strength, so that all might know that they are not alone when storms rage around them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for being our ever-present help, and the anchor that secures our heart in the midst of storms. Amen. 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. – Ephesians 4:2

A Love Like No Other

Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt His name together. – (Psalm 34:3, NIV)

Praise the Lord with me. Let us honor His name. – (Psalm 34:3, ERV)

Come and lift up the Eternal with me; let’s praise His name together! – (Psalm 34:3, VOICE)

 

A little over a year ago, we could have lost our mom. She suffered a massive stroke, and the circumstances surrounding her survival, are nothing short of miraculous. Mother’s Day last year was barely two weeks after her stroke, and though still a bit shell-shocked, we were overflowing with gratitude that we still had our mom. This year, there is even more to be thankful for on this Mother’s Day. Mom continues to gain strength and mobility, and is doing phenomenally well; she has come incredibly far over the last year. Additionally, I know that both my sister and I are so grateful to have not only our mom thriving, but our mother’s-in-love, and bonus (step) mom, doing well, also. We are full of gratitude to have healthy children, who are thriving, despite the frustration of our current circumstances. Even with three seniors between us, a freshman, and a nineteen-year-old, gratitude is in the forefront of our hearts and minds, as we know we have so many reasons to glorify God and give Him praise. Though I know not everyone shares the same story of blessing associated with Mother’s Day, I imagine we all know women who have had a powerfully positive influence in our lives. Whatever our experience, may we begin this day with praise for what He has done, is doing, and that which is yet to come.

 

With heart full of praise, wp-1589120653217823994609110985136.jpg

Love like no other;

I glorify God,

For my own mother.

I am beyond blessed,

Through her precious life;

As she models love,

And quickly ends strife.

Further the thanks goes,

For those brought along;

Women who love well,

Show how to love strong.

All praise to the Lord,

On this Mother’s Day;

For loving women,

Blessings on our way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, I praise You this morning and every day for the overwhelming ways that You meet me and bless me with Your presence and Your provision. Thank You for the incredible gift of mothers. Thank You for the women that You place in our lives to show us how to love and seek You for strength as we navigate our journey with You. Forgive us for taking our mother’s for granted, even for a moment, for they are a blessing and a gift from You. Teach us to seek You and praise You all the more for who You are, daily. Show us how to love well, so that we might be people who demonstrate the sort of love that You intended each of us to give. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and thank You for who You are and how You love us so well. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

Give her credit for all she does. She deserves the respect of everyone. – Proverbs 31:31, GNT

Life by Love Defined

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. – (Ephesians 4:2, NIV)

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient and accept each other with love. – (Ephesians 4:2, ERV)

With tender humility and quiet patience, always demonstrate gentleness and generous love toward one another, especially those who may try your patience. – (Ephesians 4:2, TPT)

 

These are words to live by, yet among the most challenging. The Passions Translation is particularly profound, as the “especially those who may try your patience” portion is the reality that confronts and challenges me most. As a middle school teacher, this is not difficult to find, and daily, I am afforded countless opportunities to put this into practice. Some days are more successful than others. Thankfully, I have a calm demeanor, so even when my patience is pushed past where it belongs, the momentary lack of love that I feel is not nearly as evident as it could be. That being said, I need Jesus every minute of every day to be humble and gentle, patient and loving, especially with those who try my patience. On my own, my inner thoughts would spew out in ugliness, rather than the still small voice within, that reminds me to breathe, and that kids need kindness and grace. May we seek the Lord and His goodness, so that we may be equipped to live humbly and gently, patiently accepting one another in love.

 

For we are all called, Life by Love Defined

Be humble and kind;

Extend others grace,

Life by love defined.

We must have patience,

That’s fueled by love;

The will to proceed,

Like the Lord above.

For what is our life,

If not led by love?

Our purpose is plain,

Forever choose love.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love one another as You first loved us. Thank You that You give us specific instructions as to how to love well. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked humility or kindness, patience or acceptance through love. Teach us to trust and depend on You to love as You call us to love. Show us how to love those around us in ways that extend patience and kindness, gentleness and acceptance. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on You to equip us to love as we were designed to love. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” – John 13:34

Trust to Do What is Right

“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if He does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” – (Daniel 3:17-18, NIV)

“If you throw us into the hot furnace, the God we serve can save us. And if He wants to, He can save us from your power. But even if God does not save us, we want you to know, King, that we refuse to serve your gods. We will not worship the gold idol that you have set up.” – (Daniel 3:17-18, ERV)

“If you throw us into the blazing furnace, then the God we serve is able to rescue us from a furnace of blazing fire and release us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if He does not, O king, you can be sure that we still will not serve your gods and we will not worship the golden statue you erected.” – (Daniel 3:17-18, VOICE)

 

Daniel 3 is a fantastic example of trusting God to do what is right, and the Lord’s faithfulness as the trio of young men stood firm in their convictions. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego knew that bowing down to a statue constructed of gold, made by man, would dishonor God. Despite the threat of death as a punishment for disobedience, the young men trusted that God would save them if sent to the fire. They even went so far as to say that if God did not save them, they still refused to bow before the gold statue. God honored their faithfulness in a miraculous way, as He met them in the fire, and kept them from being burned, despite the intense heat. As a result, the king decreed that if anyone spoke out against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, they would lose their life. The king’s heart was transformed as he witnessed the trio’s trust and the Lord’s faithfulness. We may not be facing the fiery furnace, nor forced to bow before a golden statue, but we do have opportunities daily to choose to trust God. How are we standing firm in faith, despite what we see? Each stand we take in trust, gives God room to move mightily. Our ongoing trust gives glimpses of the faithfulness of God to those around us. May we ever choose to stand firm in our convictions, and have faith to trust God to be faithful forever.

 

Choose trust in the Lord, Trust to Do What is Right

When facing the fire;

He’s faithful always,

The help that’s required.

He knows what we need,

Provision through trust;

Faith makes us aware,

Of how He meets us.

God grants us the strength,

In truth, to stand firm;

Obey, honor Him,

In all that we’ve learned.

So, let us choose right,

By faith, do His will;

The Lord will grant strength,

As peace He instills.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the examples in Your word of people who were faithful to You, even when society dictated otherwise. Thank You that You show us again and again, that You are faithful to those who trust in You. Forgive us for the times that we have not stood firm in what we know You are asking us to do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would not waiver from what You ask. Show us how to love those around us as You call us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in all things and watch in wonder as You move faithfully on our behalf. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6

Everything. Everyone. Every Day.

And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:20, NLT)

And give thanks to God the Father every day through the name of our Lord Jesus the Anointed for all He has done. – (Ephesians 5:20, VOICE)

Always give thanks to Father God for every person He brings into your life in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:20, TPT)

 

I love that these three various translations place the emphasis on three distinct things. The first, reminds us to give thanks for everything, the second, to be thankful for all that God has done, every day, and lastly, to give thanks for every person that the Lord brings into our lives. Each of these interpretations of the original text provide plentiful prose to promote praise. If we were to sit down and begin listing EVERYTHING we are thankful for, the list ought to continue for days… The second and third translations remind us to give thanks daily to God for the people He provides, and all that He has done. When I take pause and consider either of those, again, my list grows exponentially. God is so good and He is faithful and worthy of our gratitude forever. Though my life has not gone the way I might have imagined, I am blessed beyond what I could have hoped for, and loved lavishly. God has done immeasurably more than I ever hoped or dreamed, and to be real, even prayed. He sees and knows the desires of our heart and hears even the prayers that are but a mere whisper. He is so, so good. All thanks to God the Father every day for everything and all that He has done, and for every person that He has brought into our lives.

 

Always be thankful,

img_20191031_054841_6232209488813426161746.jpg

I am thankful for this sweet moment captured by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography during by boys’ senior photo shoot.

For everything;

For all that God’s done,

The countless blessings.

For people He’s placed,

Throughout all our days;

To navigate life,

And share well His grace.

For those who have taught,

And those who have cared;

Each who has chosen,

To love and to share.

For so many things,

To the Lord, we praise;

All thanks be to God,

Throughout all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the countless ways that You bless us and give us reason to lift our thanks and praise to You. Thank You for everything and everyone that You have done and brought into our lives. Forgive us for forgetting just how gracious and generous You are. Teach us to recognize Your kindness and grace, so that we choose to daily, give You all of our praise. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too, may feel reason to give You gratitude. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks for everything and everyone, every day. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – 1 Chronicles 16:34

Goodness and Love that Won’t Quit

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – (1 Chronicles 16:34, NIV)

Give thanks to the Lord because He is good. His faithful love will last forever. – (1 Chronicles 16:34, ERV)

Give thanks to God – He is good and His love never quits. – (1 Chronicles 16:34, MSG)

 

Though I have reflected upon this verse on more than one occasion, the words perfectly capture my heart for God, as I am reminded again and again of His love and His goodness. The last twenty-four hours have been a wonderful whirlwind of family time, as Mark and I have been blessed with the opportunity to be at my sister and brother-in-love’s home to spend time with mom and the whole family. My day began with tender time, reminiscent of where my season with mom began daily, as I was able to greet her as she woke (or in this instance, discover that she was already awake and quietly waiting like a ninja), and together, prepare for the day ahead. As she and I ate breakfast, others began to appear downstairs in the kitchen. It wasn’t long before we were able to interact with every family member, sans the fourteen-year-old, who was still sleeping. 😉 There was a relaxed ebb and flow, as my sister had a study session to attend; my eldest nephew, a practice; while the rest of us moved about the house visiting and preparing for mom’s next-door-neighbors from back home, to come join us for lunch. The visit was wonderful and a blessing to all. After Ken and Karen departed for the next outing of their day, mom, Mark and I decided to go on an adventure of our own, leaving time and space for Meg and Scott to scoot out and join their besties for some time together. The three of us ended up in Corvallis, and thoroughly enjoyed the break in the weather as we wandered along the river walk in the sunshine. We even ventured into a few shops in town on our way back to the car, taking in the town in a fashion typical of our exploratory ways. From there, we decided to try a favorite spot of Meg and Scott’s for a light dinner. We quickly discovered why it was a favorite, and delighted in our dining experience together. Once back home, we set to a game of “Dirty Marbles” (a family favorite that is a cross between Sorry and Chinese Checkers). When we were nearly finished, our nephews returned home, and no longer “sleepy” Skyler, asked to join the next game with a mischievous glint in his eyes. The game was a hilarious back and forth battle, enjoyed by all. By the time we finished, we all were ready to retire for the evening. Our time together reminds me of the goodness of God, and how His love never quits. May we give thanks to the Lord for His heart for us, as His love is everlasting.

 

All thanks be to God, img_2019-10-20_08-25-315565891628329069230.jpg

Who’s loving and kind;

He blesses our hearts,

With our need in mind.

He knows all the ways,

That fill our soul best;

Encourage our heart,

And grant our minds rest.

For all of these things,

And endlessly more;

I give the Lord thanks,

As love is outpoured.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and that Your love never ends. Thank You that You know our needs and bless our hearts in the very best ways possible. Forgive us for our worries, fears and weariness that overwhelm when we lose sight of You. Teach us to turn to You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in ways that demonstrate Your endless goodness and love in tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks forever for Your goodness and love. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. – Colossians 3:15

This Wonderful Grace

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. – (Ephesians 2:8, NIV)

I mean that you have been saved by grace because you believed. You did not save yourselves; it was a gift from God. – (Ephesians 2:8, ERV)

For it was only through this wonderful grace that we believed in Him. Nothing we did could ever earn this salvation, for it was the gracious gift from God that brought us to Christ! – (Ephesians 2:8, TPT)

 

I am forever grateful for God’s grace. His grace grants us the faith to receive the gift that He freely offers. All we need already is, it is simply up to us to embrace His grace or reject it. Daily, I am reminded of my own need for His grace. Whether in moments of frustration or through opportunities to extend kindness, grace is a gift that brings us back to Christ, and reminds us of His goodness. Each time we extend grace, we are offering glimpses of God’s goodness to those around us. May we give thanks for the grace that saved us, and continue in faith, extending the same to those around us, so they too may understand the precious gift that God gives.

 

The grace of the Lord, stone of grace

That’s mighty to save;

Freely grants new life,

All sins He forgave.

Not because we’ve done,

Acts of good to earn;

But simply through trust,

By faith, standing firm.

His glorious gift,

Of love and of grace;

Given lavishly,

So all might embrace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that salvation is an amazing gift of grace that You grant us through faith. Thank You that none of us could somehow earn our way into Your grace, but rather You readily receive all who call on Your Name. Forgive us for not extending grace to others in all things and at all times. Teach us to trust and rely on You more, so that we would be tangible examples of Your grace to the world. Show us how to love those around us in ways that offer the grace that is needed most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we glorify You for the amazing gift of Your grace that saves, and praise You with our lives as we extend grace to those around us. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. – 1 Corinthians 1:3